Donald MacInnis

Donald MacInnis, affectionately known as "Mu Airen" in China, is a remarkable figure whose life embodies the profound friendship and mutual respect between China and the United States. Born in the early 20th century, Donald's journey to China marked the beginning of a lifelong dedication to education, humanitarian efforts, and international solidarity.

A Dedicated Educator and Humanitarian

In the 1940s, Donald traveled from the United States to China, where he served as an English teacher at Ying Hua Middle School in Fuzhou. Despite the turbulent times during World War II, with Fuzhou under Japanese occupation, Donald showed unwavering commitment. He and his students relocated to Yangkou town in Shunchang county to escape the bombings, enduring harsh conditions. His resilience and dedication left a lasting impact on his students, including Chen Shiming, with whom he developed a lifelong mentor-student relationship.

Donald cherished the handwritten English newspaper "Tide" created by his students, bringing the inaugural issue back to the United States as a treasured keepsake. Nearly five decades later, he returned to China, reuniting with his former students and rekindling the flames of friendship and shared memories.

A War Hero with a "Chinese Heart"

During World War II, Donald served as a lieutenant in the American Volunteer Group, famously known as the "Flying Tigers", which supported China against Japanese aggression. His bravery and dedication were evident when he narrowly escaped capture by Japanese forces while gathering intelligence in Xiamen. After the war, Donald continued his educational mission in China, teaching at Fujian Union University and raising his family in Fuzhou, where his son Peter was born.

A Lifelong Bond with China

Donald's affection for China and its people endured throughout his life. Even in his later years, he returned to Fujian to volunteer at Wuyi University and participate in the 123rd anniversary of Ying Hua Middle School. His heartfelt essay "Teacher-Student Friendship is Everlasting" reflects his enduring connection to his students and the profound impact they had on each other.

Donald's final wish was to have part of his ashes scattered in the Minjiang River in Fuzhou, symbolizing his eternal bond with the land and its people. In 2015, his family fulfilled this wish, bridging the physical distance between his two beloved homes—China and the United States.

A Legacy of Friendship

Donald's legacy continues through his family. His son Peter and his wife moved to China, where their daughters were named "Ai Zhong" (Love China) and "Ai Hua" (Love China), embodying their deep connection to the country. Donald's daughter-in-law, Elyn MacInnis, has become an ambassador of his story, sharing his legacy of friendship and understanding at international forums and commemorations.

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